The colors of Holi

Nowadays, the color festival is celebrated worldwide. There are, among others, the color runs very famous in western countries. Where does Holi festival really come from? What is its true signification? And how do we celebrate it here? Passion India is telling you everything.

Holi is, first of all, the celebration of the end of winter and the beginning of spring. As the Hindus are following the lunar calendar, Holi takes place during the fullmoon of the Phalguna month (February/March), and so the date changes every year. This year, Holi comes on the 12th and 13th of March. Like a large number of beliefs and traditions in India, the meaning of Holi and the way to celebrate it is not the same depending on the regions. If in the North, the faithful pay tribute to Krishna, in the South it is Kama which is celebrated during this day.

Several stories are the starting point of this festival, and such as most of the holidays in India, Holi has its roots in the Hindu mythology. According to the legend, a king named Hiranyakashipu was reigning as a tyrant, requiring that everybody be at his service. However his soon, Prahlad, refused it, preferring the god Vishnu. Crazy with anger, the king decided to kill his son for this outrage. After some vain tries, Hiranyakashipu asked the help of his sister, Holika. Holika was born with the power to not feel the fire. She laid down in a huge fire, and the king challenged his son to go next to her. Prahlad took-up the challenge, and won it. He had been rewarded for his bravery and devotion, whereas his aunt was punished. Thus, Holi symbolizes the victory of good over bad.

Another story tells that the god Krishna, with blue skin, was jealous to be darker than his lover Radha, with white skin. His mother suggested him to put colors on the face of Radha, so that they won’t be any difference anymore. That is where the tradition of colors comes from.

So, how do Indian people celebrate Holi? The first day, big campfires are lighting up everywhere in India, as a symbol of the cremation of Holika and then the destruction of bad.

Dhulandi, the second day of festivity, is the most famous for the western travelers. Indian people buy the colorful powders some days before. Each colors has a precise meaning: Orange for optimism, blue for vitality, red for joy and love and green for harmony…Be ready to become a rainbow! In a friendly atmosphere, colors are spread on the faces and clothes of friends, family, but also strangers.

Besides a strong religious meaning, Holi is considered to have several virtues. According to Indian people, the colorful powders has a purifying power on the body. Furthermore, Holi is also a moment in the year during which all the social boundaries fall down. During this day, all the castes and religions meet to celebrate together the most colorful festival of India.